Plastic bottle walls
How plastic bottles can be implemented into the wall-building process.
A non-profit organisation based in San Diego are using a 3D-printed tool to recycle waste in the building of eco-friendly walls.
4-Walls International are using the low-cost and environmentally friendly process in San Diego and developing countries around the world. The method involves the collection of litter and using them to reinforce concrete walls. This is done by reusing thrown away plastic bottles and filling them with other littered objects, before building walls around them.
First, 4-Walls engages with the local community and seeks to get the government and local leaders around community vision on board. Then, a team are assembled to collect litter within the community. Once the rubbish has been gathered, 4-Walls can set about constructing walls and properties with the inclusion of educational workshops.
In between the collection of litter and its implementation into the wall-building process, waste must be squeezed into the plastic bottles. For this part of the method, a 3D-printed funnel mechanism, produced by FabLab San Diego, is used.
“[The] funnel is designed to fit several different types of plastic bottle,” said 4-Walls Co-Founder, Steven Wright. “What’s special about it is that it fits both wide-mouth and narrow-mouth bottles.”
The funnel allows waste to be put into the plastic bottles more easily than simply doing it by hand. It speeds up this part of the process and ultimately means more bottles can be used to strengthen the walls.
School children have also been involved in the eco-friendly construction scheme. 4-Walls have seen it as beneficial to both parties: The non-profit get more hands on deck, while the children are taught about the importance of recycling.
“These bottle bricks will get laid to a honeycomb matrix, the technique has been around for a long time,” added Wright. “It’s also a really good way to teach kids about the perils of our ‘throw-away’ culture. I’m really happy where we are right now and I am excited for the next couple of years. It’s going to be a big deal.”